Posted: May 24, 2013 12:27 PM by Erin Schattauer
Updated: May 24, 2013 1:10 PM
BOZEMAN - A man accused of stealing three cars, breaking into a house then leading police on a chase across two counties and into the mountains near Pony where he eventually surrendered appeared in court to answer to charges this morning.
Matthew Brandemihl, 31, is being held on a $100,000 bond. He appeared before Gallatin County Justice Court Judge Bryan Adams this morning, charged with three counts of felony theft, one count of felony burglary and felony criminal endangerment. He's accused of stealing three vehicles on Thursday, breaking into a home then leading police on a chase from Gallatin County into Madison County and eventually onto Forest Service land near Pony where he fled on foot before surrendering.
The day-long chase began at around 7:55 a.m. Thursday, May 23 when the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office got a call that a vehicle had been stolen from Hulbert Road West. The suspect was described as a man around 30 years old with shaggy collar-length blond hair, wearing jeans and a black shirt and appearing to have a leg injury. The caller said his wife saw the man approach the house, ring the doorbell then drive away in their 2006 blue Chevy Silverado, court papers state.
A deputy found the truck at around 8:36 a.m. on Rocky Mountain Road, but the driver fled, leading law enforcement on a high-speed chase that reached speeds of up to 100 miles per hour along gravel roads, court papers state.
Brandemihl reportedly drove the vehicle into a ravine behind a residence on Sherman Drive then broke into the home, took a woman's phone and four bottles of beer then drove her Ford Explorer through the closed garage door.
Montana Highway Patrol troopers began pursuing Brandemihl again. He led them through the county, driving 95 miles per hour on Frontage Road towards Belgrade, then jumping the railroad tracks, driving through a fence on Interstate 90 where he drove the against traffic before crashing the stolen Explorer into a ditch near Business Hub Drive at around 9:30 a.m., court papers state.
Officers surrounded the area but then found that a resident in the area was missing a GMC truck.
At around 12:11 p.m., dispatchers received a call that the truck was spotted between Pony and Harrison. Law enforcement tracked Brandemihl onto Forest Service land near Pony on foot. Several hours later, he surrendered. He was taken to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital for a leg injury.
In court on Friday morning, Judge Adams noted that Brandemihl was wanted on a warrant for failing to appear on charges stemming from an April 11 crash in which he reportedly left the scene. He was charges in that case with failure to give notice of an accident, operating with expired registration and reckless driving, which he pleaded not guilty to on Friday.
Adams set Brandemihl's bail in the most recent case at $100,000, citing his concern for the safety of the community. A preliminary hearing is set for June 14.